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Why Do Cats Catch And Eat Mice, But They Catch And Leave Shrews?

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Kath Senior answered
It is a common observation that domestic cats hunt small rodents but, while they will eat a mouse, or part of it, they rarely touch a shrew, even though they have killed it and may be hungry. This is because the skin glands in European common shrews secrete a substance that most potential predators find repellent.

Shrews are very nervous animals with an extremely high metabolic rate and they rush around much of the time hunting their own food, so they can be hunted quite successfully by their cat predators. European common shrews need to eat their own weight in food every day and they eat high energy food every two or three hours. Their digestion is so fast that a full gut can be empty again in three hours.

Their highly strung nature extends to their behaviour with each other – they are solitary and defend their territory aggressively. If one shrew's territory is invaded by another, the two animals have a furious squeaking battle.

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